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Photography Question 
Ewurama Hayford

camera height

hello all.
I need help, please. I rea abook on portraiture that stressed the importance of splitting the subject into perfect halves. it explained that when taking a full length foto, I shd have the camera pointed at waist level, if taking a headshot, it shd be at the tip of the subjects nose,a nd if a 3/4, it shd be btw the waist and chest. im confuse. if I point the camera thatw aist level, wont I cut iff thier faces??? im only 5.5, so I have to stand ona stool to get pictures of moderately tall people as it is. could someone pls explain it really simply to me?? I appreciate the help!!!!!!!!!

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7/10/2006 4:09:45 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  The biggest problem is that there are no rules.

First of all, we all have a problem - we take a picture with the camera at eye level - so that height reflects how tall we are. BAD!

Then, we say we can't shoot upwards or downwars as that introduces some impact on perspective. True, but Bad.

In essence, you must look through the viewfinder and consider what you're seeing. The viewfinder is a wonderful beast - so let it do its thing. Never, NEVER use the LCD of a digital serve as viewfinder and, more importantly, be a little creative.

Never use halves - remember the Rule of Thirds!

Always try to look at your subject a some kind of an angle - it's really more flattering.

And NEVER assume any recommendation is correct. Use that viewfinder and take that great picture.

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7/10/2006 5:48:27 PM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  eye level graph
eye level graph
© Debby A. Tabb
Fuji FinePix S2 Pr...
I find it easier toexplain to those I teach :
picture this graph in your lens.
for perfect eye level, raise the camera untill the subjects eyes are on the eye level line- mid lens.
then pan down until you have the hair on the hair line - the line slightly lower then the top of the frame - this works horizontal as well as vertical.

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7/10/2006 6:18:10 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  EH: I agree completely with John. The rules you may be taught or read about are merely a jumping off place to experiment and essentially violate them as you develop your own particularized style and exercise your own creativity. Hence, there are no real rules in photography. :>) What happens if you tend to stick to those "rules" is that your work consistently looks the same and rarely differs except by subject. The lighting looks the same, the camera angles are the same, the composition looks the same. It's boring to me, actually.

When I shoot portraits, I rarely work with camera mounted on a tripod. I hand hold it. That makes it easy for me to move around the subject finding appropriate perspectives and angles while I snap a few polaroids and essentially use the camera as a sketch pad. This also helps me connect with my subject as I talk with them to build rapport, allay anxieties in them or brew up a certain kind of alchemy between myself and my subjects.

I'm also fairly tall, 6'2", so my problem is sometimes working at the lower altitudes although if I need some additional height, I either use a short step ladder or what we call an apple box. BTW, you can also use either of these things to pose your subjects on or around, just for kicks.

Apple boxes are just 5 sided 3/4" thick plywood boxes with a hand hold cut in the top you stand on. Like single steps of different heights, say 6", 1 foot and 18". Make them yourself or find a friend with a skil saw or even better, a table saw.

Take it light. Break them rules!!!! Move around, move up and down and side ways and most of all, enjoy the experience. Question authority.

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7/10/2006 6:58:46 PM

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